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Norman Chaney

Norman Chaney


He played Chubby in 18 "Our Gang" comedies from 1929 to 1931. The resident plus-size member of "The Little Rascals" at the dawn of the talkie era, he relied on an affable personality, a flair for funny dialogue, and a priceless frown of frustration that seemed to swallow up his whole moon face. He was taught the expression by the master of the "slow burn" himself, comedian Edgar Kennedy. Chubby's meatiest moments are in the classic short "Love Business" (1931), in which he competed with Jackie Cooper for the affections of their teacher, Miss Crabtree. (Bringing her flowers and candy, he coyly proposes, "Don't call me Norman, call me 'Chubsy-Ubsy'"). Chaney's other notable "Our Gang" appearances include "Boxing Gloves" (1929), "Shivering Shakespeare" (1930), "Teacher's Pet" (1930), "School's Out" (1930), "Helping Grandma" (1931), "Bargain Day" (1931), and "Fly My Kite" (1931). Norman Myers Chaney was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He gained his spot in "Our Gang" in a nationwide talent contest to replace original "fat kid" Joe Cobb, though it appears his age was falsified so he'd stand a better chance of winning. Cobb later said of his successor, "He adapted gracefully, and we all liked him, he was a nice fellow". Roughly 14 at the time ("retirement" age by child star standards), the roly-poly youth's stay with the series was destined to be brief but he still made a memorable impression on generations of "Rascals" fans. After leaving the Gang Chaney returned to Baltimore and attended public school. He continued to gain weight and eventually topped 300 pounds. In 1935 he underwent surgery for a glandular ailment at Johns Hopkins Hospital; his weight dropped to 136 pounds and he remained in poor health until his death the following May. Chaney was the first former "Our Gang" star to die.

  • Known For: Acting
  • Birthday: 1914-11-01
  • Place of Birth: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • Also Known As: Norman 'Chubby' Chaney, Norman Myers Chaney, Chubby